On the Couch with Di Westaway

The Wild Women on Top group trekking in to the Bungles | Di Westaway
The Wild Women on Top group trekking in to the Bungles | Di Westaway

Di Westaway, founder of Wild Women on Top, is one incredible woman. She is an entrepreneur, mother, author, adventure fitness coach, motivational speaker and world record setter. Di is also a very dear friend of World Expeditions.  We have been operating Wild Women on Top adventure tours since the first Kili climb with Di in 2006, hand crafting spectacular adventures in beautiful locations just for women!
Di took a few moments to share her fascinating story with us, including her top 3 ‘magic trekking moments’ and the motivation behind setting the record for the World’s Highest Handstand.

Di-climbing_350-wide1. At WWOT you talk about making and finding those ‘magic moments’ when out trekking…can you name your top 3?

My top 3 Wild Women On Top Magic Moments are:
•    Sunset Dancing in Inca Ruins at Chocaquiera enroute to Machu Pichu
•    Summiting Mt Kilimanjaro in a blizzard
•    Unzipping my tent to the glimmering snowy view of the Kanshung Face of Mt Everest in Tibet

2. What inspired you to attempt to break the record for the World’s Highest handstand?

Actually I created the World Record for the highest handstand when I realised that I’d never be a real mountaineer so the next best thing was to climb with a guide, and then go upside down. It’s become my signature attention seeking way to show that you can keep doing outrageous things into your fifties to prove that youthful activities are possible if you stay fit.

Worlds-Highest-Handstand-6865m-Ama-Dablam_300-wide3. Was it hard to do a handstand on the top of Ama Dablam (6856m)?

Yesssssssssssss! I can do a handstand in yoga no worries, but going upside down wearing moon boots with crampons weighing 5 kg each, while being roped up on a harness without oxygen is super hard. You lose motivation at that altitude too. I was super lucky with the weather and I had a very supportive partner who took the shot. I had no option really. He was really sick so I had to prove that I wasn’t a wuss.

Before doing the handstand I just made sure there were no drop offs and then just went for it … no hesitating … but if you're trying this yourself, it is essential to be VERY good at going upside down before you climb because crampons are sharp.


 4. What is you most important piece of advice you can give people when training for an overseas trek?

The more training you do, the more fun you’ll have. 60-70% of your effort should go into Trek Training, including mental toughness, and 30-40% into gear.  Start training 6 months before. And get your online copy of 'How to Prepare for World Class Treks' for lots of expert tips.

5. Aside from what is on your gear list – do you have a  little luxury that you always take into the hills with you?

Wet wipes, mascara, Wild Women On Top choccie chip cookies and my coffee plunger

sunrise_350-2646. You’ve trekked and climbed in so many places around the world…what are the standouts?

Ha ha ha .. I LOVE them all. But most of all I love the company of Wild Women who prepare, train and work together as a team in the wilderness. The Kangshung Face Trek to Everest Base Camp in Tibet is a winner, so is the Inca Twin Rivers Peru, and Mt Rinjani, Lombok. And of course the Alpamayo Circuit is super spectacular and challenging, along

7. Best sunrise you have seen?

I’m spoilt cos I live in Manly. But I remember our summit morning on Mt Elbrus in Russia. That was breathtaking.

8. What inspires you about taking groups of women trekking/on adventures/into the mountains?

It’s a circle of inspiration. We have women who have never trekked before who discover adventure in their forties, fifties and even sixties, and they get fit and transform their lives. They inspire me to keep pushing the boundaries, because as we know, the magic starts at the end of your comfort zone.

9. If there was one piece of advice that you could give someone who was thinking about doing a trek but are not sure they can do it?

JUST DO IT. Break your goal down into little bite size chunks, do something towards it every day and you will achieve even the biggest goal. Adventure goals like treks are sticky goals because once you book, pay your money and start training, you’ll commit and follow through. The more you invest, the more you’ll benefit. But be warned … they are addictive.

View upcoming Wild Women on Top Adventures >>

Start training for your trek with Wild Women on Top >> 

Di Westaway, on the couch

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